Next month between 10th–18th May, the Dulwich Arts Festival will take place across Dulwich, Forest Hill and Sydenham to celebrate the arts in all their forms; there will be a host of events taking place across south east London ranging from music, literature and art. Havelock Walk in Forest Hill (just off the South Circular, behind Canvas & Cream), will be a central part of the festival’s Open House Studios event. Now in its 11th year, the festival’s Open House Studios is a unique chance for the public to view and purchase one-off pieces directly from talented artists in the area and thereby avoiding the usual gallery commissions and premiums.
One of the artists showing her work during the festival is Pip Tunstill who has been a long time resident of the artistic community at Havelock Walk. She recollects, “Twelve years ago, my husband & I came to look a site that was for sale on a cold rainy winter morning, very early before work. We were walking a up and down Havelock Walk and as we passed a workshop, the door was open and a voice said ‘would you like a cup of tea?’ That was it! Coming from an area where you barely knew your neighbours this was a welcoming introduction to a street that has a very strong sense of community”.
Pip Tunstill has been working as a professional artist for more years that she cares to remember and studied Fine Art at Hornsey College of Art & Design (now Middlesex University). Pip teaches Design at the University of the Arts, and combines this with working as an abstract painter. In simplistic terms, abstract art uses form, color and line to create a composition which generally exists independently from a true representation of reality. Pip takes inspiration from the whole world around her; everything from colour itself to nature, the built environment, the sea, books and music. She uses oil, pencil and occasionally collage to translate her ideas onto canvas.
Pip is currently busy getting some new work completed for the festival’s Open Studios but generally her work is sold via art consultancies and galleries. Pip really enjoys taking part and says, “It’s good to stand back from your work and see it through other people’s eyes. You meet a wide variety of people and in Havelock Walk we put out the bunting, blow up the balloons, get out the barbecue and make it a very festive occasion”.
Pip has been a resident of Forest Hill for many years and her favourite things about the area are Havelock Walk itself, the Horniman Museum, Reeves Garage and The Overground.
Pip also loves the toasted cheese sandwiches at Aga’s Little Deli on Dartmouth Road, a relatively recent addition to the high street and a success story of the original farmer’s market run by the Society at the train station. Pip also enjoys swimming at the Forest Hill Pools and really relishes being able to pick up fresh produce at the Horniman Farmers market each Saturday (both of which the Forest Hill Society has been fundamental in getting off the ground). Moreover, it’s encouraging that Pip has identified the growing cohesiveness of the community spirit in Forest Hill. She says, “There’s a much more active local community with an increasing concern about local environmental issues pursued with energy by the ‘Totally Locally’ group and Forest Hill Society.”
If you would like to see Pip Tunstill’s beautiful work, the Open House Studio’s event will run at Havelock Walk during the weekends of 10/11 May and 17/18 May. You may also like to visit other studios across the area and more information can be found at www.openhouseart.co.uk/art-trail/dulwich-festival.